Indian National Movements (1885 – 1905) & Moderate Nationalism

The history of the Indian National Movement can be studied in 3 important phases

  • The phase of moderate nationalism (1885-1905) when the Congress continued to be loyal to the British crown.
  • The years 1906-1916 which witnessed Swadeshi Movement, raise of militant nationalism (Extremism) and the Home Rule Movement.
  • The period from 1917 to 1947 known as the Gandhian era.


Major Causes of Indian National Movements (1885 – 1905)

Political Unity Approx. all India for the 1st time was under single administration
Western Education
  • Spread the concepts of liberty, equality freedom & nationalism
  • English educated Indians led the national movement & organized it
Press Indian Press, both English and vernacular, had also aroused the national consciousness
Administration of Lytton
  • Arranged Delhi Durbar at Famine time
  • Vernacular press act
  • Arms Act
  • Uniform salt tax
  • Development of Communication and Transport brought Indians Closer
  • Social and Religious Movements of the Nineteenth Century
  • Economic & Political Exploitation by the British
  • Racial Discrimination
  • Ilbert Bill controversy

The Indian National Congress (1885)

  • Formed during the period of Governor General Lord Dufferin
  • Founded by A O Hume
  • Its 1st session was held at Bombay in 1885 under the presidency of W C Banerjee
  • Discussed the problems of all the Indians irrespective of their religion, caste, language and regions
  • Thus INC from the start was an all-India secular movement
  • 2nd session was held in Calcutta in 1886 and the 3rd in Madras in 1887


Moderate Nationalism

Moderate nationalism

Surendranath Banerjee 
  • Known as Indian Burke
  • Published Newspaper – The Bengali
  • firmly opposed the Partition of Bengal
  • founded the Indian Association (1876) to agitate political reforms
  • Convened the Indian National Conference (1883) which merged with the INC in l886
G Subramanya Aiyar
  • Known as Grand old man of South India
  • Preached nationalism through the Madras Mahajana Sabha
  • founded the The Hindu (English) and Swadesamitran (Tamil)
Dadabhai Naoroji
  • Known as Grand Old Man of India
  • Publication – Voice of India
  • Regarded as India’s unofficial Ambassador in England
  • 1st Indian to become a Member of the British House of commons
  • Dadabhai Naoroji in his famous book Poverty and UnBritish Rule in India wrote his Drain Theory
  • Showed how India’s wealth was going away to England in the form of salaries, savings, pensions, payments to British troops in India & profits of the British companies
  • British Government was forced to appoint the Welby Commission, with Dadabhai as the first Indian as its member, to enquire into matter
Gopal Krishna Gokhale
  • Political guru of Gandhi
  • Publication – Sudharak
  • 1st to raise voice for free preliminary education
  • In 1905, he founded the Servants of India Society to train Indians to dedicate their lives to the cause of the country

Main Demands of Moderates

  • Expansion and reform of legislative councils.
  • Greater opportunities for Indians in higher posts by holding the ICS examination simultaneously in England and in India.
  • Separation of the judiciary from the executive.
  • More powers for the local bodies.
  • Reduction of land revenue and protection of peasants from unjust landlords.
  • Abolition of salt tax and sugar duty
  • Freedom of speech and expression and freedom to form associations
  • Reduction of spending on army.


Methods of Moderates

  • Moderates had total faith in the British sense of justice and looked to England for inspiration and guidance (Loyal to British)
  • Moderates used petitions, resolutions, meetings, leaflets and pamphlets, memorandum and delegations to present their demands
  • Confined their political activities to the educated classes only.
  • Their main aim was to attain political rights and self-government stage by stage

Only demand of the Congress granted by the British was the expansion of the legislative councils by the Indian Councils Act of 1892.

Indian Councils Act of 1892

  • The Indian Councils Act of 1892 was the first achievement of the Indian National Congress.
  • It had increased the number of “additional members” in the Central Legislative Council e. from 10 – 16 from 6-12
  • It had also increased the proportion of non-officials – 6 officials and 10 non-officials
  • The members were allowed to discuss the budget and criticize the financial policy of the government.
  • The budget could not be voted upon, nor could any amendments be made to it.
  • In the provinces also the number of additional members was increased with additional powers
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017


  1. thankyou very much to share the knowledge.

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